Saturday, February 03, 2007

Sunday Scribblings: So long to all that (Goodbye)

We all know them—those people who shed lives, careers, friends, loves, with a grace that recalls snakes dancing out of their skins. People who leave others with a bit of wistfulness, a bit of longing, but mostly a sense of being blessed to have been a part of this experience, even if its over now.

I am not one of these people.

It’s always been hard for me, saying goodbye, even to temp jobs I've hated. Perhaps because I always feel like I’m being left behind, so why speed up the inevitable? Friends I have loved, careers I was sure would fulfill me, cities where I thought I might live forever…until everything changes. Again. So I cling to them all, in my mind, shoving the memories into my overstuffed mental closet—trying to hold on to the smell of my first boyfriend’s hair after a rainstorm, the tingling in my belly as I walked out of a job interview in my wobbly high heels, the dizzying breathlessness as I stared out of the curved airplane window, watching California grow smaller and distorted.

It’s not that I can’t stand the idea of change. But I hate the idea that I need to LOSE anything in order for that change to take effect in my life. Yes, I could give away that long vintage dress that will probably never fit me again, but then will I also have to lose the girl who wore it, perusing used book tables in the Village, wearing daisies in her hair? If I lose her, what takes her place?

So I cling. I grasp. And yet, I continue to have to say goodbye. Goodbye to old selves, to lost freedom, stories that ended, to opportunities that have moseyed their way down the road and away from me. And none of my fearful clinging keeps those things at my side.

I wonder if some of my writing and life problems are the result of not being able to say goodbye to that ideal of the perfect novel that only lives in my head, to that ideal of the life full of elements which seemed wonderful at age 21 but now feel…wrong?

Not that my inability to say goodbye has brought me nothing but pain. I choose to stay committed to TEG everyday, even when it feels like we’re only moving through vapors of who we once were. I chose to stay alive during those dreadful days in college, when so much of me wanted simply to die. I choose to show up to the page, again, and again, in spite of feeling unworthy and devoid of thought or inspiration. I refuse to say goodbye to my oldest, deepest dream of being a writer, even when it feels that the dream has said adios to me.

But it strikes me that this fear of goodbye (bad-byes) betrays a fundamental distrust in the Universe, a belief that I had better hold on TIGHT, because I don’t deserve what I’ve got now, so who knows if I’ll be able to find something close to it in the future.

And I have proof that belief is not true. I have a gift that grows to fill the world. I have Madam.

I watch her now as her gait grows steady and sure, as her hands move purposefully towards what she wants. She is saying goodbye to her babyhood without a second glance, despite my longing to hold her back there for just a moment. Watching her with my love for her a physical thing, a pressure in my gut that shifts like the weight of love immobile. Every day, I am forced to learn and relearn how to say goodbye to her and hello to her crowing joyful newness.

Can I learn that about my life as well?
For more hellos about goodbyes, go here.



Blogger Frida World said...

Oh, you've caught my heart in my throat with this post. Goodbyes - did Laini know what she was unleashing with this one? But above all I love the paragraph where you acknowledge the courage and strength you have shown in refusing to say goodbye to some things, like your man, your life and your dream.
I admire that, deeply.

7:41 AM, February 04, 2007  
Blogger Jessie said...

mmmmmm...this is beautiful writing, m. and i love reading about the ways that madame teaches so you so many things, without even meaning to. you have captured something here--something both painful and beautiful. something that i think we can all relate to.

yesterday i did not want to say goodbye to that coffee shop and the fire we were nestled in front of. it was so warm...and the conversation was so good. :)

9:59 AM, February 04, 2007  
Blogger Cate said...

yes, yes, yes.

Oh, I love this post, love the way you write. There is so much beauty and courage (and security) in your honesty. It was a privilege to read this touching, passionate post. xo

11:00 AM, February 04, 2007  
Blogger paris parfait said...

Such a powerful post - I wrote similar things about letting go of a dress, an era. But the hardest thing is watching a child grow, change and need you less (but they still need you). We must cling to the important things (not material things) - love, family and meaningful work - as you're doing, with grace and courage. xo

12:53 PM, February 04, 2007  
Blogger Amber said...

"But it strikes me that this fear of goodbye (bad-byes) betrays a fundamental distrust in the Universe, a belief that I had better hold on TIGHT, because I don’t deserve what I’ve got now, so who knows if I’ll be able to find something close to it in the future."--

Oh , this hit a cord in me! because I think I let go-- or rather, dare not get attached-- for the same reasons that you hold on. I have the iea thatnothing lasts, so it wont hurt if I never really grab hold. and then, when I do grab hold, I FEAR it going away.

Yes. Yes... and NO. Don't you ever stop writng!! Don't you ever let thatgo. You are talented, and a gift to us.


3:08 PM, February 04, 2007  
Anonymous fern said...

Goodbyes SUCK. I'm so glad that Madam is teaching you how to let go and move forward and look to the future. But that is DEFINITLEY something I'm a long way from experiencing, I cling to things for dear life and try to suck the last bit of life from them.
This was a beautiful, insightful post as usual. I hope to find something that maakes change into a beautiful thing as well, and you give me hope!

8:25 PM, February 04, 2007  
Blogger alan said...

great post, I am in the middle of a move back to Europe from Canada and have moved internationally 4 times in 8 years so I should ahve something intelligent to say about this.

what can I say?

"Πάντα xoῥεῖ καὶ οὐδὲν μένει."
Everything flows and nothing is left (unchanged).

So said Heraclitus!

I am thanksful for the great peopel and experiences that I have had, I don't look to hold onto them forever, I know I can't. I look forward to new people, new experiences.

I prefer 'so long' to 'goodbye'.

8:54 PM, February 04, 2007  
Anonymous Shannon (Sentimental) said...

"I refuse to say goodbye to my oldest, deepest dream of being a writer, even when it feels that the dream has said adios to me."

Just so you know, you are a writer. You are a beautiful writer and I enjoy each and every word and am appreciative for it that you share it so publicly.

I hope you remember me. I closed my blog (Sentimental-Momma's on the Edge)back a bit. Life was crazy and I hate the direction my writing was headed by purposefully writing for it. If that even makes sense. You may remember I am in college pursuing(as in 2 semesters left) a degree in English Literature with a journalism and creative writing minor.

So anyway I am here to say hello and I have continued to read faithfully each and every post.

I did reopen a blog but I share it with few just because I don't want to go back where I was. It is a creative blog about all things creative in my life. I will share it here.

Anyway great writing and I so got it!

8:21 AM, February 05, 2007  
Blogger Rach said...

Oh to have the uncomplicated mind of a child, the innocence and purity. Lovely post

11:32 AM, February 05, 2007  
Blogger Ally Bean said...

I'm the same way about good-bye. It's not the possibility of change that I dislike, it's the finality of loss that does me in. I like your SS contribution. Very nice.

12:23 PM, February 05, 2007  
Blogger Novel Nymph said...

I think we learn the best lessons from children because they are so uninhibited. Madam can probably show you and me a few things! I am not sure where we lose our inhibitions as adults, but I am fighting against it with all the might I have!;)

You are a BRILLIANT writer...

5:29 PM, February 05, 2007  
Blogger tania said...

this was a lovely post. i got all teary and everything, and i'm not usually a teary type.
i think it's wonderful that your child is teaching you that goodbyes can often mean new hellos, that goodbyes don't always have to be so scary.
i've been wandering through your blog since your comment on mine and so far have been very impressed with what i see. thanks for writing!

11:57 AM, February 06, 2007  
Blogger Alexandra S said...

I struggle with this so much sometimes. I loved this whole post but esp what you said about Madam, and how she is just going right into this next chapter of her life, and that there is something very important to learn from this. I totally agree. I also deeply feel for your decision, a daily choice, to not say goodbye to TEG just because you two are in such a tough chapter of your lives right now. Monica, you are a brave and committed soul who deserves everything you also want for Madam. Hope you know that!

11:17 PM, February 07, 2007  

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